When Diane & I discuss dating topics with other church singles, always we end up discussing the proper roles of men and women in both dating and in marriage. Usually we end up agreeing that men are not taking the role of “spiritual leader” properly in accordance with Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 11.
The women often complain that the men are not strong enough. The first big stumbling block is usually pre-marital sex. The men profess to be Christian, then pressure the women to have premarital sex. The women submit, then lose trust in the men because the men were supposed to be the spiritual leader. While what the women did was also improper, it was the men that were supposed to lead here.
What happened? Author David Murrow in a book called Why Men Hate Going to Church says that 90% of all American men believe in God and 5 out of 6 call themselves Christian, but only 2 of 6 attend church. They see no value in it; they believe church is for women, children, and seniors.
These two are very much related, I think. While Christian men should be motivated to study the bible and practice God’s instructions, they don’t do it like they should because they do not subject themselves to accountability with other Christian men.
Is there something the church can do? Right now, many men feel the church has been feminized – where Jesus commanded, “Follow me!” it has been replaced with “Let’s have a relationship with Jesus.” Women love the idea of Christian relationships. Men on the other hand want challenge, risk, structure, commands.
In Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox, he excerpts several things churches can do to reach out to men. While churches have volunteer opportunities for singing, nursery, cooking, planning social gatherings, churches can add more masculine activities such as working on cars or fixing houses. Or even just encourage the men to get out with each other to do “guy things.”
Men want a masculine leader, not a love object. Yes, Jesus was tender and empathetic, but presenting a “soft” Jesus every week can turn men away. Churches should present the masculine side of Jesus, too. Jesus did what was right in the face of adversity, He died for what was right. He led 12 male disciples. He threw himself on a grenade for us. It’s hard to recognize Jesus as a man’s man when the church looks like a ladies’ garden club or a baby shower. The goal is not to get men to cry; it’s to get them to walk with God.